, December 07, 2021

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Representing diversity at school through languages


  •   2 min reads
Representing diversity at school through languages


Giving opportunity to broaden languages for representing the modern Britain. This is what the School Education Minister, Mr Robin Walker, wants to reflect in the contemporary society of the UK. Learning a language gives the chance to young people to work and build their carrier across the world. Like in many European countries, British schools give the opportunity to the youngest to learn three of the traditional European languages such as French, Spanish and German.

A lot of researches have shown that it can be beneficial for multi-spoken languages children. Also, it might have a strong conflict resolution skills, executive functional skills, maths skills and improve creativity. Nowadays, some children have classes in English, and then speak another language with their parents back home and a completely different one with their grandparents.

Giving more opportunities for non-White people to teach

" I think it’s a good idea, " declare Helene Bert, a BA Hons teacher qualified in Early Childhood studies and based in London for more than twenty years. In her opinion, " languages help reconnect people and give academic performances, simplify travelling and cultural exchanges. For children, languages help cognitive development to their brain for life. If they are learning at a young age, they will be more open in other cultures, and it will help to develop their diversities. And that is the most important. "

As a French citizen, Helene Bert, notices the difference between the two countries. British schools give more opportunities to know and celebrate other countries’ culture, such as the Chinese New Year or the Diwali, which is the Indian flowers festival. But even if the UK is one of the best example of teaching diversity in school, in the world, according to ULC Institute of Education, OIE, claims that 46% of schools in England were not composed of Black, and Asian pupils in 2020. Moreover, there were no minority ethnic teachers. And most of those BAME, Black Asian Minority Ethnicity, teachers are concentrated in London.

Re-reflecting the British schools landscape

Mr Robin Walker, the School Education Minister, affirmed on Monday 18th of October, that it might be the time for England to reflect the diversity of the country by teaching new languages in school. “One of the things I’m interested in exploring is how we can make modern foreign languages reflect modern Britain a little more, and reflect the breadth of languages that we have in our communities, but also our aspirations around the world.” claim Mr Robin Walker. For the Minister, the teaching workforce has always been “traditionally very focused on two or three European languages”. And this would pose a challenge. But he is planning “new approaches” to teaching being rolled out in the Government’s hubs could “create some of the opportunities for broadening that language base”.

A multi-dialects city

England has one of the most diverse cities in the world, claimed WordlAtlas. Over 250 dialects are spoken in London due to his multiplicity aspect.  Laria, Local Area Researches Intelligence Association, illustrated a map that show that Polish, Bengali and Turkish  has been considered as the second most-spoken language in London. England needs now to take more advantage of the cultural diversity that London holds.

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